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  1. ITV Report

Brits to fly home on Friday as two confirmed dead from coronavirus on Japan cruise ship

Britons on board the Diamond Princess will be evacuated on Friday. Credit: PA

Brits stuck on board a cruise ship quarantined in Japan amid coronavirus fears will return home on Friday - as two passengers on board have died from the virus.

An evacuation flight for Britons will leave Tokyo late evening on Friday,

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said information has been provided to those registered for the flight, but he urged “other British nationals still seeking to leave to contact us”.

He added: “We will continue to support British nationals who wish to stay in Japan.”

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The update comes as authorities in Tokyo said two elderly Japanese passengers taken off the ship have died from the virus.

British passengers declared fit to travel each received a letter confirming they will taken to Arrowe Park in the Wirral after they land where they will be quarantined for 14 days.

All passengers wanting to get on the evacuation flight will have to sign a copy of an agreement to go into isolation on arrival in UK.

The letter also warned passengers the would be without access to toilet facilities for "several hours" between leaving their cabin and arriving at the airport and urged them to plan "accordingly".

David Abel in a hospital bed in Japan. Credit: Facebook.com/david.abel.75

There were 78 British passengers on the cruise liner when cases of the coronavirus strain known as Covid-19 started to emerge.

Four British cases have since been confirmed by the Foreign Office.

Among them is David Abel and his wife Sally from Northamptonshire who have been posting regular updates on his Facebook page.

On Monday, Mr Abel posted pictures of himself and his wife in a Japanese hospital, saying they were "in the best place".

In the Facebook post, Mr Abel said: "We arrived in lovely hospital a couple of hours ago.

"Taken by ambulance blues & twos the entire journey.

Sally Abel and her husband have both been given a full health inspection. Credit: Facebook.com/david.abel.75

"Outside the hospital I came over a bit weird and nearly passed out. Every pore on my body opened and i was wheelchaired to our room.

"Full health inspection and now we know what's going on. We both contracted a cold (unaware of) and it has not yet turned into pneumonia. (we do have coronavirus).

"Tomorrow the big tests commence. chest x-rays, ECG, chest scan, urine + more.

"We are both in the best place! They do know what they are doing and our two nurses are gorgeous. Sally likes the Dr too."

Mr Abel said that following treatment, the couple will need three rounds of all-clears on coronavirus tests.

Mr Abel said he was thinking of the British nationals who had been given the all clear to fly on Friday.

It is understood only healthy passengers with no symptoms of the virus will have a seat on the plane, with all to spend 14 days at the Wirral.

Anyone who develops symptoms during the flight will be taken to hospital, while it is understood any pre-existing cases will be treated in Japan.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has announced the EU will be financing the repatriation of citizens from any of the EU27 still stuck on the Diamond Princess.

Nadhim Zahawi, Conservative MP for Stratford-on-Avon and Minister for Business and Industry brushed off accusations that the government had been slow in responding to crisis.

Mr Zahawi told ITV News: "We've had to coordinate. It's been quite complex coordinating this evacuation. I think we're in a good place that tomorrow that flight will land in the United Kingdom and will bring our people back."

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As of 2pm on Wednesday, a total of 5,216 people in the UK had been tested for coronavirus, of whom nine had tested positive.

Reports on Wednesday from mainland China said there have been 2,004 deaths and 74,185 confirmed infections of the virus.

New cases have fallen to less than 2,000 per day for the past two days but officials and analysts have warned that the threat of a more serious outbreak remains as people gradually return to work following a prolonged Lunar New Year holiday.

British Airways have become the latest airline to cancel flights to mainland China.

The airline said they suspending flights to and from Beijing and Shanghai until April 17 2020 but would still continue to fly to Hong Kong.

"Safety is at the heart of everything we do and we will keep the situation under review," a spokesperson said.

While the overall spread of the virus has been slowing, the situation remains severe in Hubei province where the virus is thought to have originated.